2019 Community Volunteer Awards Recipients

Mike McKinney Award ($1,000 donation) (named for a longtime Madison newscaster, volunteer, mentor and Community Volunteer Award emcee, who passed away in 2006):
Kelly LeGrand is described as “a miracle worker among us.” She volunteers more than 100 hours per month, applying her skills in trauma-informed care. Kelly was nominated for her service at Friends of the State Street Family, where she has volunteered for seven years. She works closely with our community’s most vulnerable – answering all the calls made to the Friends of the State Street Family help line, as well as calls from agencies. She is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. She even saved a homeless woman’s life during the Polar Vortex. The woman was severely mentally ill, and Kelly built up enough trust with to take her to the E-R where she could receive the care she urgently needed. Her nominator writes, “Kelly is the go-to person in Madison when there is nowhere to go for options. She is best known for resolving some of our most difficult challenges in helping our most vulnerable. She is well respected for her dedication, passion and knowledge. I can’t think of anyone more deserving to be recognized and she is not the kind of person to be front and center.”

Goodman Gemstone Youth Award ($1,000 donation and $1,000 scholarship):
Elaina Wagner is a senior at Sun Prairie High School. She has been volunteering with the CARDS Closet at Sunshine Place since it started in 2012. CARDS stands for Community Awareness, Resource Development and Service. The CARDS Closet started off in an unheated storage space, and thanks to Elaina and other students, the CARDS Closet is now in a small storefront in Sun Prairie. Any student in the Sun Prairie school district is eligible for items from the store. They get a referral from the school social worker and then they and their family can come and shop for free clothing, shoes and personal care items. Elaina has been an integral part of growing the CARDS Closet – she has organized more than 20 clothing drives and has helped dozens of local families. Further, Elaina was part of the team that met with each of the 35 families affected by the Sun Prairie explosion and made sure that they received everything they needed from the CARDS Closet. She is graduating from high school this spring and will be attending Arizona State University starting in the fall.

Community Volunteer Business Award ($1,000 donation):
Bank of Sun Prairie shows year after year the importance of giving back – from employees organizing an annual backpack drive for kids of low-income families, to dishing out weekly community meals, to serving on nonprofit boards – the employees at this company volunteer year-round. They were there for their community when they needed them most – in the aftermath of the tragic explosion in Sun Prairie last summer. Bank of Sun Prairie was helping the victims of the explosion within minutes of it happening, even though their own building had been destroyed. Every single one of their employees pitched in to assist in the recovery effort – sweeping the streets, cleaning up debris, even helping in the funeral of the firefighter that lost his life in the explosion. Less than 24 hours after the explosion, Bank of Sun Prairie formed a Disaster Relief Fund, and raised more than $500,000 for the short-term and long-term recovery of their community. In the days following, their CEO, Jimmy Kauffman, encouraged employees to volunteer, collecting and distributing supplies such as food, clothing, medications and household items. They worked closely with their long-time nonprofit partner Sunshine Place to be as efficient and effective as possible. Their nominator says “At the time that they could have just stayed home since they had no building to provide their business, they chose to stay and support our community in our time of crisis.”

Community Volunteer Award (Outstanding Leadership) ($1,000 donation):
Mark Geisler has served the community of Mazomanie for more than 25 years. Mark is the Chief of the Mazomanie Fire Department, which is a fire department run entirely by volunteers. That’s in addition to his day job as the village’s Director of Public Works. From fighting fires, to responding to emergency calls, to running safety trainings, to writing grant proposals, Mark does it all. He attends Village Board Meetings to represent the fire department, is on the village’s utility commission, and still finds time to coach his sons’ youth sports. His volunteerism was especially appreciated in the aftermath of the devastating floods across southern Wisconsin last summer. His nominator writes “Mark was the ring leader in all efforts to rescue stranded residents. He called in resources such as food and housing for those who were displaced and organized the fire department to go door to door to check on residents. He set his crew up to pump water out of basements, carry damaged drywall and other materials out of houses and tend to the needs of residents, telling his crew that the village was counting on them and they had no intention of letting them down.”

Community Volunteer Award (Lifetime Achievement) ($1,000 donation):
Wayne Bisek and Vickie Carroll have spent a combined 48 years supporting food pantries statewide through their nonprofit Buckets for Hunger, Inc. Buckets for Hunger has raised more than two million dollars over the past 24 years. They host multiple fundraisers for food pantries and other nonprofits each year, including silent and live auctions, and an annual trivia challenge night. Wayne writes the newsletter, runs the books, does the taxes, organizes various events, promotes the programs and inspires people to attend, bid and volunteer. Meanwhile, Vickie does any and all jobs that need to be done.  She has served as a committee chairperson for almost every one of their events.

Kathy Martinson Youth Award ($500 donation and $500 scholarship):
Kimberly Leon Teran is working hard to make her school a safe space where her peers feel like their identities are recognized and their heritage celebrated. She is one of six leaders of Latinos Unidos, a student organization within the Middleton Cross Plains School District. The purpose of Latinos Unidos is to eliminate stereotypes, celebrate and promote Latino culture, combat racism and to have a voice in the culture of Middleton High School. Kimberly is currently a junior at Middleton High School. She has been a part of Latinos Unidos for three years and volunteers an average of 10 hours per month. The student organization has 60 active members and is led by a leadership committee of six high school students. The leadership committee identifies topics, resources, events, recruitment and field trips for the whole student body of Latinos Unidos.  Kimberly is also a mentor for the LEAGUE Academy Program, where she mentors 3rd and 4th grade elementary students to promote academics and social/emotional development. On weekends, she serves meals to people experiencing homelessness. Her nominator tells us “Kimberly is a distinguished volunteer and is set apart from other volunteers, due to the warm nature of her giving back.”

Distinguished Service Nonprofit Award ($250 donation):
Madison School and Community Recreation (MSCR) serves more than 110,000 individuals per year. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for people in the Madison Metropolitan School District and for the community by providing recreation and enrichment opportunities year-round that are accessible to all. MSCR has more than 1,000 volunteers who give a total of more than 24,000 hours of their time each year. They collaborate daily with other organizations including Badger Volunteers, UW Rehab-Psych, Urban League of Greater Madison, and MMSD staff. MSCR volunteers play critical roles in organizing events, teaching classes, helping in over 50 wellness programs, supervising field trips, and providing access to waterways in Dane County. They can be found tutoring young students, working with people with disabilities, coaching sports, and chaperoning campers to various locations all summer long.

Distinguished Service Award ($250 donation):
Phil Cox is integral in helping grow more than 200,000 pounds of fresh local produce each year for people who otherwise would not have access to it. He has invested thousands of hours volunteering at the Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens since 2002. Phil is the Volunteer Coordinator and Co-Garden Leader for the Witte Garden out in Verona, and serves on Madison Area Food Pantry Garden’s board of directors and policy committee. He has purchased three used pickup trucks that have been used for garden-related tasks – and has paid for almost all operating expenses and repairs needed for these trucks himself. In addition, Phil served on the Oregon Library Board for three years and is beginning his 10th year as a member of the South Central Library System Board.

Distinguished Service Award ($250 donation):
Kathleen Dare has been volunteering with the Society of Saint Vincent DePaul for ten years, giving 60 hours per month to our community. The Society provides direct, person-to-person services to those in need throughout Dane County. Kathleen is involved in many areas within the Society. She serves on The Special Works, the Strategic Planning, and the Little Drummer Christmas Toy Giveaway Committees, and the Board of Directors. Kathleen also volunteers at special events, is a regular volunteer receptionist and host at their food pantry and conducts in-home visits to provide services to those in need. If that’s not impressive enough, Kathleen is also a valued volunteer at the Lussier Community Education Center. She helps with the Thursday meal preparation for their elementary after school program.

Distinguished Service Award ($250 donation):
Richard Hoffman has a heart for service and puts his time, knowledge and compassion toward bettering the lives of Stoughton area older adults, veterans, and low-income residents. He has given more than 5,800 hours back to the community since 2007. Congratulations to, for your volunteerism at Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Dane County (RSVP)! Richard spends more than 40 hours per month volunteering at RSVP of Dane County. RSVP matches volunteers age 55 and older with volunteer positions suited to their interests and skills, including a senior transportation program. Over the past 12 years Richard has served as a driver, ride coordinator and board member. He also serves as the ride coordinator for the Affordable Transportation Program and is the primary driver to the Personal Essentials Pantry. His nominator says “he has a true compassion for people and empathy for what life can hand them, knowing that many people are just a step away from needing help.”

Distinguished Service Award ($250 donation):
Deborah Thompson volunteers at Middleton Outreach Ministry’s food pantry and clothing center several days each week. She also leads the donation room and holiday activities at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). At Middleton Outreach Ministry, Deborah works at the front desk and schedules appointments, answers the phone, completes office work, books rides and housekeeping for older adults, and enters organizational data. She also completes projects for the Pantry Manager. At DAIS, Deborah oversees the processing and organizing of in-kind donations and coordinates a monthly dinner at the DAIS shelter for the residents. During the holiday season, she organizes the processing and wrapping of gifts for the Adopt-a-Family program and helps with special events. She is described as “friendly,” “prompt” and “professional.” One nominator says quote, “We feel honored to have Deborah’s guiding hands in so many roles. She truly exemplifies the meaning of volunteerism.”